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again for the North, much occupied with certain tid, ings from Lexington and Concord which just then spread over the land. He saw all that it meant plainly enough, and after noting the fact that the colonists fought and fought well, he wrote to George Fairfax in England: “Unhappy it is to reflect that a brother's sword has been sheathed in a brother's breast, and that the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched in blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative. But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice ’’’ Congress, it would seem, thought there was a good deal of room for hesitation, both for virtuous men and others, and after the fashion of their race determined to do a little more debating and arguing, before taking any decisive step. After much resistance and discussion, a second “humble and dutiful petition ” to the king was adopted, and with strange contradiction a confederation was formed at the same time, and Congress proceeded to exercise the sovereign powers thus vested in them. The most pressing and troublesome question before them was what to do with the army surrounding Boston, and with the actual hostilities there existing. Washington, for his part, went quietly about as before, saying nothing and observing much, working hard as chairman of the military committees, planning for defence, and arranging for raising an army. One act of his alone stands out for us with significance at this critical time. In this second Congress he appeared habitually on the floor in his blue and buff uniform of a Virginia colonel. It was his way of saying that the hour for action had come, and that he at least was ready for the fight whenever called upon. Presently he was summoned. Weary of waiting, John Adams at last declared that Congress must adopt the army and make Washington, who at this mention of his name stepped out of the room, commander-in-chief. On June 15th, formal motions were made to this effect and unanimously adopted, and the next day Washington appeared before Congress and accepted the trust. His words were few and simple. He expressed his sense of his own insufficiency for the task before him, and said that as no pecuniary consideration could have induced him to undertake the work, he must decline all pay or emoluments, only looking to Congress to defray his expenses. In the same spirit he wrote to his soldiers in Virginia, to his brother, and finally, in terms at once simple and pathetic, to his

| wife. There was no pretence about this, but the

sternest reality of self-distrust, for Washington saw and measured as did no one else the magnitude of the work before him. He knew that he was about to face the best troops of Europe, and he had learned by experience that after the first excitement was over he would be obliged to rely upon a people who were brave and patriotic, but also undisciplined, untrained, and unprepared for war, without money, without arms, without allies or credit, and torn by selfish local interests. Nobody else perceived all this as he was able to with his mastery of facts, but he faced the duty unflinchingly. His did not put it aside because he distrusted himself, for in his truthfulness he could not but confess that no other American could show one tithe of his capacity, experience, or military service. He knew what was coming, knew it, no doubt, when he first put on his uniform, and he accepted instantly. John Adams in his autobiography speaks of the necessity of choosing a Southern general, and also says there were objectors to the selection of Washington even among the Virginia delegates. That there were political reasons for taking a Virginian cannot be doubted. But the dissent, even if it existed, never appeared on the surface, excepting in the case of John Hancock, who, with curious vanity, thought that he ought to have this great place. When Washington's name was proposed there was no murmur of opposition, for there was no man who could for one moment be compared with him in fitness. The choice was inevitable, and he himself felt it to be so. He saw it coming; he would fain have avoided the great task, but no thought of shrinking crossed his mind. He saw with his entire freedom from constitutional subtleties that an absolute parliament sought to extend its power to the colonies. To this he would not submit, and he knew that this was a question which could be settled only by one side giving way, or by the dread appeal to arms. It was a question of fact, hard, unrelenting fact, now to be determined by battle, and on him had fallen the burden of sustaining the cause of his country. In this spirit he accepted his commission, and rode forth to review the troops. He was greeted with loud acclaim wherever he appeared. Mankind is impressed by externals, and those who gazed upon Washington in the streets of Philadelphia felt their courage rise and their hearts grow strong at the sight of his virile, muscular figure as he passed before them on horseback, stately, dignified, and self-contained. The people looked upon him, and were confident that this was a man worthy and able to dare and do all things. On June 21st he set forth accompanied by Lee and Schuyler, and with a brilliant escort. He had ridden but twenty miles when he was met by the news of Bunker Hill. “Did the militia fight?” was the immediate and characteristic question; and being told that they did fight, he exclaimed, “Then the liberties of the country are safe.” Given the fighting spirit, Washington felt he could do anything. Full of this important intelligence he pressed forward to Newark, where he was received by a committee of the provincial congress, sent to conduct the commander-in-chief to New York. There he tarried long enough to appoint Schuyler to the charge of the military affairs in that colony, having mastered on the journey its complicated social and political conditions. Pushing on through Connecticut he reached Watertown, where he was received by the provincial congress of Massachusetts, on July 20, with every expression of attach. ment and confidence. Lingering less than an hour for this ceremony, he rode on to the headquarters at Cambridge, and when he came within the lines the shouts of the soldiers and the booming of cannon announced his arrival to the English in Boston. The next day he rode forth in the presence of a great multitude, and the troops having been drawn up before him, he drew his sword beneath the historical elm-tree, and took command of the first American army. “His excellency,” wrote Dr. Thatcher in his journal, “was on horseback in. company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to distinguish him from all others. He is tall and well proportioned, and his personal appearance truly noble and majestic.” “He is tall and of easy and agreeable address,” the loyalist Curwen had remarked a few weeks before; while Mrs. John Adams, warm-hearted and clever, wrote to her husband after the general's arrival: “Dignity, ease, and complacency, the gentleman and the soldier, look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face. Those lines of Dryden instantly occurred to me, – “Mark his majestic fabric He's a temple Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine;

His soul's the deity that lodges there;
Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.’”

Lady, lawyer, and surgeon, patriot and tory, all speak alike, and as they wrote so New England felt. A slave-owner, an aristocrat, and a church

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